0
Maximizing
Growth in

Crop Root
NT Systems

Joel Gruver
WIU Agriculture
j-gruver@wiu.edu
Chemical seed treatments,
deep rippers, tile and insect
resistant genetics are powerful
technologies that can enhance
root...
Corn yields have
tripled during my
life but have my
soils improved?

Which soil is a better environment for
root growth an...
WHY??
More questions than
answers for many fields
Variation in Variation in
inherent soil dynamic soil
properties? propert...
of variability in root growth and function

Root performance = Genetics x Environment
The decade since the publication
of the third edition of this volume
has been an era of great progress
in biology in gener...
STEEP, CHEAP AND DEEP
Breeding goals proposed by
Dr. Jonathan Lynch

RCA = Root cortical aerenchyma
Root phenes associated with genotypic differences in
adaptation to low phosphorus (from Lynch, 2007).

Lynch J P Plant Phy...
Three primary factors affecting flooding tolerance in plants have been reported:
(1) the ability to grow adventitious root...
Some GM traits may have
broader than expected impacts

Despite minimal corn rootworm feeding pressure on
roots, the Bt hyb...
Increased efficacy of symbiotic N fixation can be achieved
by selecting not only the best host genotypes but by selecting ...
Is this what
your bean roots
look like?
The big guys have
recently become very
interested in biological
products
The infusion of BIG money will create
powerful new products but is likely to
narrow the range of strategies
Opening the black box
Nutrient cycling

Bio-control of
pests and
pathogens

Decomposition
soil structure formation
and sta...
Opening the black box
Nutrient cycling

Research that reveals
the secrets of soil
processes will lead to
new products but ...
When are biological products most likely
to result in Return On Investment?

http://www.scivit.de/blog/wp-content/uploads/...
ADVERSE CONDITIONS
VOTiVO contains a naturally occurring soil rhizobacteria (Bacillus firmus), that live
and grow on crop root systems. The b...
The effects of Poncho and VOTiVO can not be isolated
when the products are always applied together

www.lacek.com/inthefie...
Long term no-till
Intensive tillage

Plow pan

Ontario Ministry of Ag and Food

(w/ healthy soil biology)

Network
of crac...
Contrasting stands of corn in the NC 9 tillage systems experiment

Would your soils change this much in 25 years?

> 3%OM
...
Many soils in IL can take a lot of abuse !
Physical changes are happening in flat black soils…

Long term sod

crop field

Same soil type – very different water hold...
Changes in air and water dynamics
impact root growth and function
Least Limiting Water Range




LLWR for loose well-aggregated soil

LLWR for compacted soil
Soil too
hard for
roots to...
You really won’t know what is happening
underground unless you take a look…
All you need is a
shop-vac and a
hose :-> !
It’s just like going to the dentist!
How often do you look
at crop roots?
"One of our primary goals is to get the first
three sets of crown roots deep into the soil…
In vertical-tillage, no-till o...
What else should you look for?
white color
proliferate
in all
directions

Healthy shoot
growth and
high yields

Efficient ...
Not all healthy roots are white in color!!
http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/Roots.html
Understanding corn root
development
The seed roots
stop growing
shortly after the
coleoptile
emerges from
the soil surface...
Have you ever heard of “floppy corn”
or “rootless corn” syndrome?

Where are the nodal roots?
“Floppy corn” or “rootless corn” occurs when surface
soil is too dry for healthy elongation of roots from the
first node (...
4 weeks

Corn root development
documented in the 1920s
8 weeks

If this was possible 90
years ago, just think
what is poss...
Wading pool gardens in
my back yard

With enough water and nutrients,
small roots can grow big plants

How is it possible ...
This unfortunately
is the norm in
agriculture

Acute root
disease

VS.

Chronic root
malfunction
Chemical, physical and bi...
Chemical toxicities
inhibit root growth & function

Aluminum
toxicity

Aluminum
toxicity

Al toxicity is very common in th...
Understanding aluminum toxicity
Fe and Mn toxicities also occur at
lower pHs

Toxic forms
of Al are
bioavailable
at pHs < ...
What damaged these corn roots?

Boron was included in
starter fertilizer
On-line tool for estimating
maximum rates of in-row fertilizer

Damage is most likely in dry
coarse textured soils
https:/...
N and P promote root branching and proliferation
Why do crops on tiled-drained land tend
to be more drought resistant ?

Ontario Ministry of Ag and Food
Do crop roots really grow toward water?

Roots elongate directed by gravity in AEROBIC soil!
Ontario Ministry of Ag and Fo...
Soil aeration affects soil temperature which
strongly affects root growth rate

Soil can
get too
hot for
optimal
root
grow...
Compaction strongly impacts root growth and function

Sub-soil water
and nutrients

Brady and Weil (2002)
What causes sidewall
compaction?

Waiting for drier soil
is the most important solution
Why are healthy roots so
important?

Roots perform
many valuable
functions !
In addition to the most obvious functions
physical support and uptake of water and nutrients

ROOTS are:
Carbon pumps tha...
Roots review their
environment and
make ‘choices’
about what
parts of it is
profitable to
explore, and what
parts should b...
Physical protection
source of lubrication,
& sensor of gravity

What is the function
of the root cap?
What is the function of root hairs?

Surface area for
absorption of water
and nutrients
&
anchorage
The ins and outs of root function

H20
Root exudates
activate soil microbes

Root growth

N, S, P

Transpirational
stream
...
Rhizosphere
Roots normally occupy <
1% of topsoil volume

The rhizosphere is normally
<< 10 % of topsoil volume

Zone of r...
Navigating the rhizosphere
End of the
rhizosphere

Rhizoplane

Microbial activity

EndoRhizosphere

Ecto-Rhizosphere

< 10...
Mycorrhizae - internet of the soil
Conservation

4 main
strategies for
managing soil
biology

Activation
Suppression

Augmentation
Augmentation strategy

Your soils already contain Trichoderma spp.
but your crops may benefit from targeted
placement of s...
There is strong scientific evidence that
Trichoderma spp. enhance crop growth but
on-farm trials are needed to confirm
ben...
competition

parasitism

4 main types of microbial interactions that
promote root health

antibiosis

induced resistance
competition

parasitism

Sales reps should be able to clearly explain
how their products work

antibiosis

induced resista...
The root systems of natural vegetation often inhibit nitrification
This suppression strategy could
be harnessed to reduce ...
Suppression of soybean diseases
through the use of cover crops
• University of Illinois
• Western Illinois University
• So...
Soybean Stands in Rhizoctonia inoculated plots
UIUC 2011

2011 was a very good year for Rhizoctonia development, and in
th...
Rhizoctonia root rot, UIUC 2012
3
a

2.5
Lesion Length (cm)

ab

P=0.05

2
abc

1.5
bc

1

c

0.5
0
Fallow

Mustard

Canol...
Rhizoctonia root rot, UIUC 2013
3.5

Lesion Length (cm)

3

a
P=0.04

2.5

ab

2

ab

ab

b

1.5
1
0.5
0
Fallow

Mustard

...
Conclusions
Cereal rye and rape resulted in the best soybean
stands, but results were not consistent across
locations.

Ce...
There is a growing body of scientific
evidence that humate products can activate
plant processes including root growth
Like biological inoculants, the BIG guys are
now interested in selling humates…
on-farm trials are needed to confirm
benef...
Bio-strip-till = targeted activation of biology in row

Dave Brandt
Bio-strip-till at the
WIU Organic research farm
Bio-strip-till effects may be even greater
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME
should be your foundational strategy for
managing soil biology!
DEAN GLENNEY of Dunville, Ontario plants his corn and
soybeans on exactly the same rows, drives on the same tracks,
and ne...
“One of the things that pops up immediately in
our analysis is that Mr. Glenney’s plants use up all
of the fertilizer almo...
“We’re finding huge numbers of bacteria inside corn plants;
and the bacteria that are inside Mr. Glenney’s corn plants are...
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems
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Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems

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Transcript of "Maximizing crop root growth in no-till systems"

  1. 1. Maximizing Growth in Crop Root NT Systems Joel Gruver WIU Agriculture j-gruver@wiu.edu
  2. 2. Chemical seed treatments, deep rippers, tile and insect resistant genetics are powerful technologies that can enhance root growth but are not the focus of this presentation. The goal of this presentation is to explore underappreciated aspects of the science and management of roots with a focus on opportunities in NT farming systems.
  3. 3. Corn yields have tripled during my life but have my soils improved? Which soil is a better environment for root growth and function?
  4. 4. WHY?? More questions than answers for many fields Variation in Variation in inherent soil dynamic soil properties? properties? Soil variability interacting with genetics, weather, and cultural practices
  5. 5. of variability in root growth and function Root performance = Genetics x Environment
  6. 6. The decade since the publication of the third edition of this volume has been an era of great progress in biology in general and the plant sciences in particular. This is especially true with the advancements brought on by the sequencing of whole genomes of model organisms and the development of “genomic" techniques. This fourth edition of Plant Roots: The Hidden Half reflects these developments that have transformed not only the field of biology, but also the many facets of root science.
  7. 7. STEEP, CHEAP AND DEEP Breeding goals proposed by Dr. Jonathan Lynch RCA = Root cortical aerenchyma
  8. 8. Root phenes associated with genotypic differences in adaptation to low phosphorus (from Lynch, 2007). Lynch J P Plant Physiol. 2011;156:1041-1049
  9. 9. Three primary factors affecting flooding tolerance in plants have been reported: (1) the ability to grow adventitious roots at the soil surface during flooding; (2) the capacity to form root aerenchyma; and (3) tolerance to toxins (e.g., Fe 2+, H2S) under reducing soil conditions. By analyzing these components separately, it could be possible to perform selections for genotypes exhibiting varying degrees of flooding tolerance.
  10. 10. Some GM traits may have broader than expected impacts Despite minimal corn rootworm feeding pressure on roots, the Bt hybrids produced an average of nearly 1.1 Mg ha−1 more grain than their RR2 counterparts. In the comparison of DKC61-72 RR2 and DKC61-69 VT3, Bt protection promoted increased grain yield at low N (+1.0 Mg ha−1; P ≤ 0.01) and a 31% greater response to fertilizer N.
  11. 11. Increased efficacy of symbiotic N fixation can be achieved by selecting not only the best host genotypes but by selecting the best combination of host genotype and nodule bacteria. …targeted efforts to breed genotypes for improved N fixation and mycorrhizal symbiosis will bring benefits in increased yields of crops under a wide range of environmental conditions and will contribute toward sustainability of agricultural ecosystems in which soil-plant-microbe interactions will be better exploited.
  12. 12. Is this what your bean roots look like?
  13. 13. The big guys have recently become very interested in biological products
  14. 14. The infusion of BIG money will create powerful new products but is likely to narrow the range of strategies
  15. 15. Opening the black box Nutrient cycling Bio-control of pests and pathogens Decomposition soil structure formation and stabilization
  16. 16. Opening the black box Nutrient cycling Research that reveals the secrets of soil processes will lead to new products but will not eliminate the need for cultural practices
  17. 17. When are biological products most likely to result in Return On Investment? http://www.scivit.de/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Slide124.jpg
  18. 18. ADVERSE CONDITIONS
  19. 19. VOTiVO contains a naturally occurring soil rhizobacteria (Bacillus firmus), that live and grow on crop root systems. The bacteria creating a biofilm that becomes a living barrier limiting the number of receptor sites which could otherwise be occupied by plant pathogens such as nematodes. Nematodes use gaseous and solid exudates from the root as means to detect a root’s proximity, so reduced levels of exudates can decrease the ability of the nematodes to locate the receptor sites on the roots. The bacteria further reduce viable nematode populations by consuming exudates, depriving nematodes of an additional source of energy and nutrients.
  20. 20. The effects of Poncho and VOTiVO can not be isolated when the products are always applied together www.lacek.com/inthefieldofdiscovery/download.cfm?
  21. 21. Long term no-till Intensive tillage Plow pan Ontario Ministry of Ag and Food (w/ healthy soil biology) Network of cracks and biopores
  22. 22. Contrasting stands of corn in the NC 9 tillage systems experiment Would your soils change this much in 25 years? > 3%OM Continuous No-till < 1%OM Fall plow/ spring disk
  23. 23. Many soils in IL can take a lot of abuse !
  24. 24. Physical changes are happening in flat black soils… Long term sod crop field Same soil type – very different water holding capacity
  25. 25. Changes in air and water dynamics impact root growth and function
  26. 26. Least Limiting Water Range   LLWR for loose well-aggregated soil LLWR for compacted soil Soil too hard for roots to penetrate 20 25 dry 30 35 40 45 Soil water content, cm3/cm3 *100 50 wet Not enough O2 for root respiration 55 From Weil, Ray Weil 2003
  27. 27. You really won’t know what is happening underground unless you take a look…
  28. 28. All you need is a shop-vac and a hose :-> ! It’s just like going to the dentist!
  29. 29. How often do you look at crop roots?
  30. 30. "One of our primary goals is to get the first three sets of crown roots deep into the soil… In vertical-tillage, no-till or strip-till conditions, the first set of crown roots will go down. But, when we do horizontal tillage before planting, except in a few conditions like sand, no matter what we did in the fall, the first two sets of crown roots almost always turn on the dense layer. Hopefully, with fall vertical tillage, the third set will penetrate.“ Ken Ferrie – Farm Journal, September 2006
  31. 31. What else should you look for? white color proliferate in all directions Healthy shoot growth and high yields Efficient use of soil resources extensive growth into the sub-soil minimal evidence of deformities
  32. 32. Not all healthy roots are white in color!!
  33. 33. http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/Roots.html
  34. 34. Understanding corn root development The seed roots stop growing shortly after the coleoptile emerges from the soil surface. The nodal root system becomes visible at ~ V1. The nodal root system becomes the dominant system by V6.
  35. 35. Have you ever heard of “floppy corn” or “rootless corn” syndrome? Where are the nodal roots?
  36. 36. “Floppy corn” or “rootless corn” occurs when surface soil is too dry for healthy elongation of roots from the first node (V2 to V4). Young roots emerging from the first node will die if the meristematic tissue desiccates prior to extension into moist soil. Chemical injury can cause similar problems
  37. 37. 4 weeks Corn root development documented in the 1920s 8 weeks If this was possible 90 years ago, just think what is possible today? 16 weeks Crops grown on modern row spacings generally do not grow such wide root systems 7 feet deep !!
  38. 38. Wading pool gardens in my back yard With enough water and nutrients, small roots can grow big plants How is it possible for healthy crops to grow with such a limited rooting volume?
  39. 39. This unfortunately is the norm in agriculture Acute root disease VS. Chronic root malfunction Chemical, physical and biological factors can cause CRM!
  40. 40. Chemical toxicities inhibit root growth & function Aluminum toxicity Aluminum toxicity Al toxicity is very common in the SE US and in tropical countries like Brazil
  41. 41. Understanding aluminum toxicity Fe and Mn toxicities also occur at lower pHs Toxic forms of Al are bioavailable at pHs < 5.5 Aluminum toxicity is minimal above a water pH of 5.5 http://www2.ctahr.hawaii.edu/tpss/research_extension/rxsoil/alroot.gif
  42. 42. What damaged these corn roots? Boron was included in starter fertilizer
  43. 43. On-line tool for estimating maximum rates of in-row fertilizer Damage is most likely in dry coarse textured soils https://www.sdstate.edu/ps/extension/soil-fert/upload/Fert-Seed-Decision-Aid.xls
  44. 44. N and P promote root branching and proliferation
  45. 45. Why do crops on tiled-drained land tend to be more drought resistant ? Ontario Ministry of Ag and Food
  46. 46. Do crop roots really grow toward water? Roots elongate directed by gravity in AEROBIC soil! Ontario Ministry of Ag and Food
  47. 47. Soil aeration affects soil temperature which strongly affects root growth rate Soil can get too hot for optimal root growth!
  48. 48. Compaction strongly impacts root growth and function Sub-soil water and nutrients Brady and Weil (2002)
  49. 49. What causes sidewall compaction? Waiting for drier soil is the most important solution
  50. 50. Why are healthy roots so important? Roots perform many valuable functions !
  51. 51. In addition to the most obvious functions physical support and uptake of water and nutrients ROOTS are: Carbon pumps that feed soil organisms and contribute to soil organic matter Energy and nutrient storage organs Chemical factories that change soil pH, poison competitors, filter out toxins, concentrate rare elements, etc. A sensor network that helps regulate plant growth
  52. 52. Roots review their environment and make ‘choices’ about what parts of it is profitable to explore, and what parts should be avoided. (P. Barlow, 2009)
  53. 53. Physical protection source of lubrication, & sensor of gravity What is the function of the root cap?
  54. 54. What is the function of root hairs? Surface area for absorption of water and nutrients & anchorage
  55. 55. The ins and outs of root function H20 Root exudates activate soil microbes Root growth N, S, P Transpirational stream H20 Diffusion Microorganisms produce most but not all of the enzymes need to digest OM
  56. 56. Rhizosphere Roots normally occupy < 1% of topsoil volume The rhizosphere is normally << 10 % of topsoil volume Zone of root influence
  57. 57. Navigating the rhizosphere End of the rhizosphere Rhizoplane Microbial activity EndoRhizosphere Ecto-Rhizosphere < 10% of soil volume > 90% of soil volume A few millimeters (Lavelle and Spain, 2001)
  58. 58. Mycorrhizae - internet of the soil
  59. 59. Conservation 4 main strategies for managing soil biology Activation Suppression Augmentation
  60. 60. Augmentation strategy Your soils already contain Trichoderma spp. but your crops may benefit from targeted placement of selected strains
  61. 61. There is strong scientific evidence that Trichoderma spp. enhance crop growth but on-farm trials are needed to confirm beneficial effects on your farm
  62. 62. competition parasitism 4 main types of microbial interactions that promote root health antibiosis induced resistance
  63. 63. competition parasitism Sales reps should be able to clearly explain how their products work antibiosis induced resistance
  64. 64. The root systems of natural vegetation often inhibit nitrification This suppression strategy could be harnessed to reduce N losses in cropping systems
  65. 65. Suppression of soybean diseases through the use of cover crops • University of Illinois • Western Illinois University • Southern Illinois University Macomb ChampaignUrbana Carbondale
  66. 66. Soybean Stands in Rhizoctonia inoculated plots UIUC 2011 2011 was a very good year for Rhizoctonia development, and in the fallow plots we saw very little seedling emergence in the plots inoculated with Rhizoctonia. The stand in the inoculated rye plots were almost the same as those in the non-inoculated plots, with the stands in the rape plots being intermediate. Fallow Rape Cereal rye
  67. 67. Rhizoctonia root rot, UIUC 2012 3 a 2.5 Lesion Length (cm) ab P=0.05 2 abc 1.5 bc 1 c 0.5 0 Fallow Mustard Canola Rape Rye
  68. 68. Rhizoctonia root rot, UIUC 2013 3.5 Lesion Length (cm) 3 a P=0.04 2.5 ab 2 ab ab b 1.5 1 0.5 0 Fallow Mustard Canola Rape Rye
  69. 69. Conclusions Cereal rye and rape resulted in the best soybean stands, but results were not consistent across locations. Cereal rye has the potential to induce soil suppressiveness to Rhizoctonia root rot and SDS. Cereal rye, rape, and canola can significantly decrease SCN egg counts.
  70. 70. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that humate products can activate plant processes including root growth
  71. 71. Like biological inoculants, the BIG guys are now interested in selling humates… on-farm trials are needed to confirm beneficial effects on your farm.
  72. 72. Bio-strip-till = targeted activation of biology in row Dave Brandt
  73. 73. Bio-strip-till at the WIU Organic research farm
  74. 74. Bio-strip-till effects may be even greater
  75. 75. BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME should be your foundational strategy for managing soil biology!
  76. 76. DEAN GLENNEY of Dunville, Ontario plants his corn and soybeans on exactly the same rows, drives on the same tracks, and never tills his fields. His Fencerow Farming systems has produced corn yields averaging 275 bu/ac and soybeans averaging around 60 bu/ac.
  77. 77. “One of the things that pops up immediately in our analysis is that Mr. Glenney’s plants use up all of the fertilizer almost within 70 days after planting. So some way this plant is sucking up all of the nutrients, but we’re not sure why yet” “The other field still has quite a lot of fertilizer remaining even at the end of the season. It just doesn’t get used. One of the fundamental things that’s happening is in one field the root system must be more efficient in taking up the nutrients.” Dr. George Lazarovits
  78. 78. “We’re finding huge numbers of bacteria inside corn plants; and the bacteria that are inside Mr. Glenney’s corn plants are completely different than the bacteria typically found in corn. Dr. George Lazarovits
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